Why a Dedicated VM for Your TFS Hosting Service

More and more people incline to choose hosting services. It is convenient, secure, cost-effective, etc. Usually, a hosting company would provide two kinds of plans for their customers with different requirements: Shared Plan and Managed Plan. The primary difference between these plans is that the Managed plan provides users a dedicated virtual machine.

So why Managed Plan, in spite of that it costs more money? Take Dynamsoft’s TFS Hosting service for example, I’ll give 5 reasons:

TFS Plan

1. More Intense Monitoring

Besides the 24*7 network and security monitoring from the world-class primus data center, our administrator 24*7 monitors your server to ensure you get the maximum security and performance capability.

  • 24*7 track your hosting environment
  • Monitor your server, CUP/memory usages
  • Track and eliminate unexpected traffic increases

2. More secure and independent

Instead of sharing one SQL Server with other hosting users, you get your own instance of VM and SQL Server. By isolating your database from others, the dedicated VM environment decreases the impact from other hosting users to the minimum.

3. Flexible

Urban Turtle and Build Server are optional add-ons provided by Dynamsoft’s hosting services, both for the shared and managed plans. Besides these two add-ons, you are allowed to install additional software/add-ons onto your virtual machine. To keep a secure environment, remote access is disabled to avoid any malicious data.

In the meantime, based on the ongoing proactive server monitoring, Dynamsoft provides the maximum available memory in the most flexible way. Security and other software upgrades and patches can be applied according to your requirements.

4. More Resources

Considering teams with more than 5 members are more inclined to choose the Managed Plan, we design the plan to help customers focus on their own tasks, no worry about the performances and the resource related questions that might be caused by the expanding teams and the size-increasing projects under version control. You are allowed to expand the physical memory based on the 4G by default. The maximum storage capacity is also increasable to fully fulfill your requirements.

5. More support

One of the main differences that make the dedicated hosting service standout is that the Managed Plan offs more support. As a customer oriented company, Dynamsoft opens different support channels, including email, online chat, phone call, forum, knowledge base and the ticket system, as the standard ones to help customers from different time zones. On top of those, managed plan users will get best practice suggestions and consultant from our R&D team based on the 8 years of experiences in developing our own version control and issue tracking tools.
(Our team developed SourceAnywhere for VSS as the fastest internet and cross-platform VSS solution; then SourceAnywhere, a SQL Server based version control; and then we have SCM Anywhere available which constitutes version control and issue tracking.)

If you are interested in the Managed Plan of Dynamsoft TFS Hosted, you can check out the following page for detailed information. 5-day free trial is available for you.

Dynamsoft TFS hosted Managed Plan

How to auto-deploy web application with TFS Build Server

Provided as part of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, Team Foundation Build enables developers/managers to manage the projects, from version controlling the source code, running associated unit tests, to releasing builds and publishing build reports. In this article, I’ll share with you on how to take advantage of TFS Build to auto deploy a web application to your web server.

TFS Web Deploy

1. Install Visual Studio 2010. In this article, we take Visual Studio 2010 for example.

2. Install TFS Build Server.
You can set up a local build server by yourself. If you are using the TFS Hosting service provided by Dynamsoft, you can ask to install the Build Server add-on for your account.

3. Install Web Deployment Tool on your TFS Build Server.

4. Install Web Deployment Tool on your Web Server and set up the site for your web application.
Note: Please change the .NET Framework Version of the site’s application pool to v4.0 in IIS and make sure the firewall or any antivirus software doesn’t block port 8172.

5. Add the following arguments to the “MSBuild Arguments” of your build definition. Separate them using space.

TFS Build Arguments

/p:MSDeployServiceURL=https://<server name>:8172/msdeploy.axd

To edit a build definition, you must have the Edit Build Definition permission. To set the permission, you can choose the target project in Team Explorer, and right-click Builds -> Security. In the Security dialog box, choose the user or group you want to grant the permission to, for instance, [DWT]\Builders. And then confirm the Edit build definition option is set to Allow.

TFS Build Security

With the above settings, the build result will be deployed to your web server automatically when you perform Queue New Build (Team Explorer -> right-click Builds -> Queue New Build).

It’s just a quick review of auto-deployment. Hope the information helps you enable the feature smoothly. If you have any comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below for discussion. You can also reach me at kgao@dynamsoft.com.


How to set up a build server for your TFS Hosting account

In this article, I will share with you on how to set up a build server for your TFS Hosting account.

Assume you have already signed up for a TFS hosting account. If not, you can go to TFS Hosting Sign Up to get one. Now please follow the steps below to set up a build server for your TFS hosting account.

1. Install TFS Build Service.

Download and run Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 Setup. Since Dynamsoft has already set up the server side for you, you only need to choose the “Team Foundation Build Service” option. Then Click Install to install the service.

Team Foundation Setup

2. Start Build Service Configuration and click Next.

build service welcome

3. Project Collection

Then you’ll be guided to Project Collection to configure your Team Foundation Server info. Before configuring the connections, please add “ TFSServer1” to the hosts file on your build machine (under C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\). is the IP address of TFS server.

Then let’s go back to Project Collection. Click Browse… to select your team project collection. Since you haven’t connected to any TFS Server before, you can click Add in the “Add/Remove Team Foundation Server” dialog box to add a new one.

Name or URL of Team Foundation Server: tfsserver1
Path: tfs
Port number: 8080

After clicking OK, choose your team project collection. In this sample, we choose 105012.

4. Credential Settings

In the Run Team Foundation Build Service as section, choose “Use a user account” and enter the account name and password.

Please note that the account will be used to run the build service and connect to the Team Foundation Server, so please make sure:

a)      The account has the permission to run the build service. Usually you can choose the login user. In this case, I choose 105012_build.

b)      The same account exists on the TFS server. To double confirm this, you can log into your web portal and navigate to “TFS Hosted -> User Management”. If the user 105012_build is not there, you can click Create User to add the user. Please note that the password for the user should be the same on both machines.

c)        105012_build is in the “Project Collection Build Service Accounts” group. In Visual Studio, navigate to “Team -> Team Project Collection Settings -> Group Membership”. You can then choose “Project Collection Build Service Accounts” and click Properties to check the members. If the user is not in the list, please check out Can I add a Windows user to my TFS account for information on how to add.

For the port number, I choose the default one 9191. Please make sure it is not blocked by the firewall or any antivirus software on your build server.

5. Update Local Build Service Endpoint (incoming)

First, you need to stop the build service. To do this, you can open “Team Foundation Server Administrator Console” and click Stop in Build Configuration.

Then, click on Properties to change the value of Local Build Service Endpoint (incoming) from the machine name to your public network IP.

Note: please make sure that your firewall allows Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Build Services to run both privately and publicly.

Done. Now you can get started to use your Build Server. If you have any questions or comments, please add them below or contact me at kgao@dynamsoft.com.

How to choose a better TFS hosting service?

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server is the collaboration platform at the core of Microsoft’s application lifecycle management (ALM) solution. It automates the software delivery process and gives you the tools you need to effectively manage software development projects throughout the IT lifecycle.

Due to the high cost of setting up TFS internally and the increasing maturity of hosting services, many of these companies now include TFS hosting. Now the question pops up: how to choose a TFS hosting service that can suite the team better? I list off some factors below, and hope the information helps.


Good customer service adds value

During one of our weekly training events a question was asked:  When we talk with our customers, they always tell us …? One of our team members answered the question immediately with: Good Customer Service.  True.  When a lot of companies announce themselves as customer oriented, not many of them really help their customers find the right solution, either because their product/service lines are too large and/or spread out, or they’re overloaded with their customers needs … sometimes that is just reality, but it is also an excuse!

I was happy to hear my coworker’s answer. That is what we are focusing on – Good Customer Experiences. I’m also very proud to show you our Customer page, which includes our existing customers as well as their feedback on our services.


Whether your data is in good hands

Before you make the decision, it’s critical to learn the security features provided by the vendor:

  1. Details of the data center, including its location and the service level.
  2. Database backup plans as well as the frequency.
  3. Whether you can download the database from the vendor (anytime).
Company Data Center Database Backup Database Downloadable Price
Dynamsoft VancouverSAS70 and CICA5970 certified Onsite: every 15 minutesOffsite: daily One per month at no cost From $20 /user/month
DiscountASP.NET US / UK Daily One per month at no cost;Need to pay for each additional backup. From $20 /user/month
Phase 2 International Hawaii 5 days’ worth of full backup One per month From $ 129.99 /user/month
PRAKTIK Hosting Seattle, WA USASAS 70 Certified From $25 /user/month
SaaS Made Easy, LLC IndianaSAS 70 Type II compliant UPS & power backup From $15.00 /user/month
TeamDevCentral Nightly backups $500.00 ~ $12,000.00 (CAD) setup fee + $150.00 ~ $200.00 (CAD) /user/month
TFS Server Hosting $25 /user/month


To learn more about these corporations and their services, please go to: TFS Hosting Service Providers


Database migration from VSS

If you were using Visual SourceSafe, it’s ideal and necessary to migrate all your VSS data to the new system. Both Dynamsoft and DiscountASP.NET provide FREE database migration for customers.


Available add-ons

In cooperation with Pyxis, most TFS hosting companies provide the Urban Turtle add-on to prioritize your backlog, plan your work and deliver software. Currently, Microsoft doesn’t provide the add-on for TFS Azure.


Learn the company history

Dynamsoft has 8 years of experience in developing source control and bug tracking software. Thus, our team has better understanding of version control and bug tracking, which helps in providing better services to our customers. July 04, 2010 was the fifth anniversary of the launch of SourceAnywhere Hosted, Dynamsoft’s first SaaS solution for source control. Over the past few years, the online rate of our server has been (and continues to be) as high as 99.9x%. Learn More >>

DiscountASP.NET is focused on hosting .net software, including TFS, SQL Server, etc. Learn More>>

PRAKTIK Hosting as well as some other companies specializes in TFS hosting.

It’s a big decision to start using a new system and service. If you have any other suggestions for other users, please feel free to share your comments below. You can also email me at kgao@dynamsoft.com.

Dynamsoft TFS Hosted Adding Urban Turtle Add-on

Dynamsoft TFS supports Urban Turtle

A few customers have inquired about whether our TFS Hosting service provides Urban Turtle – an  Agile/Scrum management tool, which is specially designed and built for TFS. I thought it would be advantageous to be able to manage projects in an agile way. Thereupon, after weeks of negotiation with Pyxis Technologies – the developer of Urban Turtle, I hereby proudly announce that Dynamsoft TFS Hosted is adding Urban Turtle Add-on!

Following the launch of Build Server and Managed TFS Hosting solution, we have built a partnership with Pyxis Technologies and enabled Urban Turtle for the hosting service. (Check our feature list)

Urban Turtle is a powerful add-on that provides efficient methods and functions to turns TFS agile. For instance, it provides filter function and drag-and-drop feature to sort out backlogs; intuitive graphic UI to view and manage work items; live interaction statistics for an adequate work assignment balance; task board to monitor the task status within a glance, and etc.

With the adding of Urban Turtle add-on, I believe we can bring our TFS Hosting service to a higher attitude.

Quick Review: Microsoft Visual Studio 11

vs 11 beta logo

Ever since its development information unveiled to the public, Visual Studio 11 has received lots of concerns and discussions from software developers. The latest beta version was released in early this month. Download

So finally I had the chance to open Visual Studio 11 Beta after hours of waiting and setting up Windows 8 virtual environment. The first thing I must say is that, the Metro UI is revolutionary, neat and of great simplicity. Comparing to the popular Mac OS X UI, Windows has at last found its own style.

1. Trouble-free Installation
2. Developer-friendly UI
3. IDE Enhancements
4. Connect to Team Foundation Server
5. Other Improvements
6. Installation Requirements

1. Trouble-free Installation

The installation is unbelievably trouble-free! It took me about only 5 minutes to walk through the process. Double-click, install then finish.
If installed on Windows 8, the VS 11 will put several tiles on the Metro screen. A system restart is required after the installation to update all added components.

VS 11 Beta install

Read more